The Schizoid Earth by David A. McIntee

schizoid earth

Lethbridge-Stewart is missing. The Army recruit a journalist to help find the Colonel; while Professor Travers and his daughter, Anne, are called in to investigate mysterious capsules which are crashing to Earth. 

This sequel to The Forgotten Son sees Lethbridge-Stewart’s mission to investigate the Great Intelligence delayed for a while. His plane has not make it to Tibet, and finds himself instead struggling with his memory while investigating the appearance of strange passenger-bearing capsules. mqdefault

Both the title and front cover of this book scream, “Inferno!” to Doctor Who fans. That story, from Jon Pertwee’s first season, sees the Third Doctor travel to a parallel universe and meet alternative versions of his UNIT allies. The allusions to Inferno are used effectively as shorthand for alternate realities, diverting the reader from looking for references to the Brigade-Leader’s universe (which seems neatly ruled-out as a location early on). The reader is one step ahead of Lethbridge-Stewart in terms of knowing he’s in a different universe, but the rest of the mystery we solve alongside him.

It’s exciting that, in only the second book of the series, what you might imagine to be the template of late 60s-set Earthbound stories is thrown wide open to  a wider Doctor Who and science-fiction universe. The future Brigadier is well-drawn as a practical, military-minded man. The balance this series has to find is in giving him enough experience to be put in charge of the British arm of UNIT, without making him an expert in the odd and the unexplained to rival the Doctor. This book has a clever way of avoiding this knotty problem.

Professor Edward and Doctor Anne Travers team bring the scientific nouse to proceedings. They were not in the previous book much, but play a larger part here. Their father and daughter dynamic is well-drawn; pleasingly it is slightly reminiscent of the First Doctor and Susan. They still don’t get a proper reunion with Lethbridge-Stewart, but this does feel like a chapter of an ongoing saga; particularly the subplot with BBC journalist Larry Greene (a colleague of The Web of Fear‘s Harold Chorley).

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Order The Schizoid Earth:

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth

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